Maybe I’ve got the wrong idea here – since I’m almost completely out of the loop, but I thought Summerslam 2014 was pretty solid; often really good. It had the big main events – John Cena vs. John Brock Lesnar and Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella. Both of these matches worked – and sold – because they worked so hugely on paper. The back-story all there, and so much of that storytelling helped to sell whatever would happen in the ring.
McMahon getting back into the ring for the first time, officially, in a decade. She and her husband running the show and now she steps back in to settle a score – that’s classic family drama that uses the family name well. She’s a McMahon through and through. Add in some double-crossing and you have one of the best Diva matches you could ever hope for.
And the Lesna/Cena match was pretty terrific too – also it helps to carry on what will always be a big feud. And the return – if/when it comes – of The Undertaker.
A solid undercard too, even if a few wobbles. The opener – Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz was the sort of match to start any night, two great talents going at it.
I enjoyed the lumberjack match between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and these are players I hardly know.
Also to be commended is WWE’s commitment to building a villain through racial/cultural stereotyping – no mean feat in this day and age I would have thought. Here’s the WWE finally – fully – embracing the online model (the commentators worked so hard to talk up the brand’s new subscription model, we even had Hulk Hogan wheeled out to mention it at the show’s opening) and then there we have Rusev (he’s Russian, doncha know) taking on the All-American Jack Swagger. Good match though – good, ugly match. Reminiscent of all that good stuff from back in the day with Sgt Slaughter and the Iron Sheik and The Bolsheviks and a few others. I like, too, the return – and focus – on managers, the best bit-part players in pro-wrestling. So having Lana (she’s American of course, but playing a Russian) on one side of the match is a bonus, to balance that Swagger has his “Zeb Colter” (you may know him/remember him as Dutch Mantel) by his side. You could be forgiven for thinking it’s actually John Goodman’s character from The Big Lebowski.
Also the return of Lesnar meant the return of Paul Heyman – and in the Brie/Steph match we had Triple H and Nikki Bella involved – even though they shouldn’t have been! These cartoon elements are where pro-wrestling gets it right. Celebrate the absurdity; don’t try to shroud it in anything resembling reality.
We had title changes and a few-four star and nearly four-star matches. Hard to complain. Unless you could never care about this stuff. In which case why are you reading? Just because you can? Get lost.